What’s It About? The Battle Of The Five Armies picks up where the Desolation Of Smaug left off, with the dragon’s attack on the people of Lake-Town. It also follows Gandalf’s run-in with the Necromancer and the effect of all that gold on chief dwarf and King Under The Mountain, Thorin. Otherwise, the movie pretty much does what it says on the tin: in other words, it’s all about that Battle Of The Five Armies.
Verdict: Writer-Director Peter Jackson has definitely saved his best for last with The Battle Of The Five Armies.
The movie looks absolutely amazing. For example, Smaug’s fiery attack on Lake-town. Now, in some ways that feels like it would have been a natural end to the second movie, instead of having that end with a faux-cliffhanger, but in spite of that it still makes one hell of an opening to The Five Armies. And, of course, it also means we get to hear more of Benedict Cumberbatch’s brilliant voicing of Smaug.
Then there’s the chamber of gold in the mountain, which is quite a spectacle, and the way the film visualises Thorin’s dragon sickness is really quite clever. And there are also some very cool creatures who get up to some rather interesting things in the film, which I won’t spoil for you in case you’ve not seen it yet!
Jackson’s at his best when he’s directing insanely epic battles like Pelennor Fields and Helm’s Deep in Lord Of The Rings; and Five Armies actually feels more like 5000 armies!
There’s not a lot of description of the battle itself in The Hobbit book, but the film really goes to town with its amazing battle scenes!
As for the cast, Martin Freeman returns as Bilbo Baggins. I just love him in this role and the kind of understated way he plays Bilbo. Richard Armitage as Thorin again plays the role beautifully, going darker this time. He’s got the dragon-sickness, which means he’s basically been driven mad by gold-lust and is obsessed with finding the Arkenstone. There’s an element of paranoia to Thorin this time; and it’s almost Shakespearean in the way Armitage plays it.
Luke Evans has some cool moments as Bard the Bowman during Smaug’s attack and afterwards. Lee Pace gets some great scenes as he rides on elk-back into the battle; while Manu Bennett, as the pale Orc, Azog the Defiler, returns for an epic face-off! And, of course, Ian McKellen is great, as always, as Gandalf.
And there’s the continuing love triangle between elves Tauriel and Legolas, and dwarf Kili, which still feels a largely unnecessary addition, which isn’t to criticise the actors, but the storyline itself. Despite that, there’s one particular moment in the action that Legolas has that’s completely ridiculous, but I did really enjoy its sheer craziness!
The darkest movie in The Hobbit trilogy so far gets some comic relief from Stephen Fry’s greedy Master of Lake-Town and his obsequious right-hand man and Deputy Master, Alfrid, played by Ryan Gage.
Extras: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 3D and Blu-ray contain the following special features: Recruiting the Five Armies, Completing Middle-earth, The Last Goodbye Music Video, and New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 3.
Final Words: The Battle Of The Five Armies is best of The Hobbit bunch and visually stunning with plenty of action.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy Box Set is available on Digital Download, Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD now.